Employment Relations

Agency Relationships — Liability of Principals and Independent Contractors

Cora and Caley, CARDWARE’s co-office managers have determined that CARDWARE Inc. is growing so rapidly that they need to hire a part-time advertising manager to market CARDWARE’s latest business, “Designer Car Seat Covers.” Camille has recommended Nicole Marriott to fill the position. Nicole has freelanced with several big agencies and brings with her a wealth of knowledge, integrated advertising software, and a host of media contacts to further the interests of CARDWARE. CARDWARE provides Nicole with an office and use of its telephones and equipment, such as copy machine, fax machine, and computer, although Nicole may use her own computer if she wishes.

While visiting with Z-1, a leading car manufacturer, in an attempt to secure its business, Nicole recognized a former colleague Raquel Dean whom she knew to be sly with business tactics in stealing ideas. Raquel walked by Nicole and accidentally bumped into her causing Nicole to drop a pile of papers with diagrams and profit graphs from Designer Car Seat Covers. Nicole, thinking that Raquel was trying to take her ideas, doubled up her fist and punched Raquel in the face knocking out her two front teeth and bruising her left eye. Raquel filed suit against CARDWARE based on battery.

Determine the following:

  • Whether or not Nicole is an independent contractor.
  • Discuss whether or not CARDWARE Inc. would be liable for Nicole’s torts/criminal acts if she is considered to be an independent contractor. Be sure to note the difference in outcome if she is determined to be an employee.

Just do response each posted # 1 to 3 down below only.

Posted 1

Hello professor and class,

An independent contractor is a person who contracts to do work for another person according to his or her own processes and methods; the contractor is not subject to another’s control except for what is specified in a mutually binding agreement for a specific job. This working relationship provides benefits to both the worker and the employer. In the discussion it says Nicole is a freelance worker and that is defined as a term commonly used for a person who is self-employed and is not necessarily committed to a particular employer long-term. Therefore, Nicole was not necessarily a part of the Cardware Corporation, she is an independent contractor. (p397)

Nicole is an independent contract based on the discussion reading. Independent contractors are not employees because, by definition, those who hire them have no control over the details of their physical performance. (Miller, 2013-pg 397).

Cardware, Inc. would not be liable for Nicole’s torts/criminal acts as an independent contractor as indicated in our reading which states: generally, an employer is not liable for physical harm caused to a third person by the negligent act of an independent contractor in the performance of the contract. This is because the employer does not have the right to control the details of an independent contractor’s performance. (Page 408)

If Nicole was considered to be an employee of Cardware, and was at the dealership on company business, then Cardware, Inc. would be liable for the judgment against them and responsible for Nicole’s outrageous actions.

Miller, R. L. (2013). Cengage Advantage Books: Fundamentals of Business Law: Summarized Cases. [Purdue University Global Bookshelf]. Retrieved from https://purdueuniversityglobal.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781305482920/

Posted 2

Hello Class and Professor,

The determination of Nicole’s employment status from what amount of information given I would consider her an Independent Contractor. There is no information on taxes, social security, or unemployment taxes. Nicole seems to have full control over the detail of her work, Nicole is engaged in the same facilities of CARDWARE, Inc. Nicole’s work is not done by direction or supervision she is the specialist. The employer does provide Nicole with her tools but, she is allowed to use her own. No time frame has been placed on her employment but, her status is part time. No method of payment was informed as well as no requirement for a degree or skill, Nicole was recommended due to her knowledge and social media following.

With the fact Nicole is an Independent Contractor and came with a well known background of professionalism CARDWARE, Inc. is not liable for the conduct of Nicole in this situation. In no form or fashion with no prior background or history was the company to know that Nicole had a history of violent activity and cannot be held responsible.

Posted 3

Hello Class.

Per the scenario, there were no details indicating that CARDWARE had any control over the work Nicole did. Nicole had the option to use her own equipment and tools (computer and resources), which would indicate that her position as an independent contractor. As such, independent contractors are not employees of the company, in this case CARDWARE. Nicole in her own right is her own boss, does not work for or belong to any specific company and was hired by CARDWARE as an agent to handle the advertising/marketing for them.

It was not stated in the scenario, but Nicole may have not been instructed to physically visit the car manufacturer Z-1 to secure its business. The actions she took against Raquel were not negligence of CARDWARE and were solely a crime act of battery committed by Nicole. CARDWARE doesn’t seem as if they would be liable in this situation.

If Nicole is deemed an employee of CARDWARE, then additional information pertaining to whether she was advised to visit Z-1. If her employment status was changed to that of an employee versus an independent contractor, then details surrounding if Nicole was acting within or outside the scope as an employee of CARDWARE would determine if CARDWARE was liable or not.